Thirty-seven times per week: That's how often a
young man's thoughts turn to palpable sexual desire,
according to a new survey.
Young women, on the other hand, are somewhat less
carnal: their thoughts lean toward lust an average
of nine times per week, the study found.
But that still translates into daily desire for both
genders, according to the findings presented Friday
at the American Psychological Society annual meeting,
in Los Angeles.
"Virtually every participant in this study, male
and female, reported having experienced sexual desire
-- and they did so on a daily basis," concluded co-researchers
Pamela Regan, a professor of psychology at California
State University, Los Angeles, and graduate psychology
student Leah Atkins.
In their study, Regan and Atkins interviewed 676
men and women, whose average age was 25, on the intensity
and frequency with which they experienced sexual desire.
Almost all those interviewed -- 97.3 percent -- reported
having experienced lustful feelings, with men only
slightly more likely to feel sexual desire (98.8 percent)
than women (95.9 percent).
In keeping with previous studies, the team found
that men do think of sex more often -- close to four
times more frequently -- than women. Men also rated
the intensity of these lustful episodes as being slightly
higher than those related to the researchers by women.
"These differences may reflect socialization processes
that differentially influence men's and women's sexual
attitudes and behavior," the researchers speculated.
"Alternatively, they may reflect underlying biological
differences between men and women."
One key biological difference could be the high levels
of circulating testosterone found in males: previous
work by Regan has implicated the sex hormone in stimulating
Still, these findings "do not imply that men always
feel desire or that women are uninterested in sex
or lack sexual desire," the researchers stressed.
In fact, "sex differences notwithstanding, the experience
of desire may be the single most common sexual event
in the lives of men and women," they said.
Many questions remain, however.
Although it's long been the subject of poetry, drama
and song, sexual desire has not been a hot research
"Lust clearly is deserving of much greater scientific
attention than it has traditionally received," the